Sorry for the lack of an email last week. Last week I was sick and didn't have the energy to write an email. Elder Nelson ended up catching the stomach flu and was throwing up a lot a couple of weeks ago. Well, last week somehow I got it as well and was throwing up all night and day Wednesday. Then my companion got it and then he was throwing up. And then just when we thought everything was good, Elder Nelson somehow got it again and was throwing up the entire next day. We call it the Yonkers Plague. Nobody can figure out why so many people get sick here. Haha. Now we are all alive and well, so do not worry. Being sick is no fun.
Brandon: It has been an interesting ride with Brandon. Last time we talked, he was doing great. Things have happened since then. Veronica (his girlfriend in the church) broke up with him because she was going on a mission, and also his friends have been telling him that ever since he has been meeting with us, he has been changing into to "soft" person and they want the old tough Brandon back. Over the last few weeks, each time we meet with him, he gives us less and less time. It's at a point now where he cancels the lessons. We will see what happens. It is just sad to see someone lose the eternal blessings of the gospel because he cares more about what others think. I wish he could have more of an eternal perspective. It doesn't matter what man thinks, if you know you are living your life doing what God asks of you. Living according to what God asks of us is ultimately the right thing to do, and you feel that in your heart. Because you feel that, you never have to justify your actions because you already know they are right and correct. I wish he could see this. Anyway, we are praying for him and hoping he does choose to come back and continue to change. He knows the gospel is true, he sees how it has been changing his life, yet because he is afraid of what others think, he is choosing to deny himself those wonderful blessings, and not accept it. He has so much potential. If only he could see that in himself. Then again, I'm sure this is just how God feels about us as well.
Roy: Roy is such an amazing one! I am a little confused at times with him. He opened up to us and told us some things that happened to him, and because of those things, it is as if he is stuck mentally at the age those things took place in his life. Sometimes it is hard to communicate with him, because it's as if we are talking to a little kid in very large man's body. He keeps telling us of new kids he is finding out he had, and he is constantly losing and obtaining new jobs. Over the past cycle it has been difficult meeting with him, but we met with him twice this week, and plan to do so in the following weeks. Yesterday we had a great lesson with him. We taught about the priesthood, temples, and eternal families, and we asked him how bad he was willing to work to get there one day. He said he really wants it, and he feels like each time he prays and asks God if these things are true, that he gets the feeling and the direct words in his head that say "you already know this is true, you already know what you have to do." It's so amazing to hear that, but he needs a little push. He doesn't commit very well to things, but he told us yesterday that there is just something inside of him telling him to go through with it. If only people could see the worth of the gospel in their lives! His baptism date was December 21st, but unfortunately, we had to cancel the date and move it back because we didn't feel as if he was ready to make that step yet.
We have been doing a lot of less active look-ups and a lot of tracting. We have spent most of our time in the bad areas because that is where all the hispanic people are. Even though we spend every day in those areas, each day it surprises me how bad some of these people live. It is sad. Apparently, everyone who comes over to America from these Latin countries automatically thinks New York City is the place to go, but they can't afford it, so outside the city is the "next best place" and they end up here all in tight quarters. They don't understand that there are a lot better and cheaper places to live in America. I have grown to love some of the people here, and I just wish I could take them out of their situations here and show them how good life can be.
We have these events called APF's where we get together with all the missionaries in our zone and do an area proselyting event. For example, our last event we went caroling, handed out free hot chocolate, gave away wrapped scriptures, and during that talked to all the people who came through. We do one every week. Well last week during our APF, I was on a split with Elder Hincapie, and we ran into an elderly lady who was picking up her leaves. We ran over to her and asked her if we could help her and she said she didn't need help, but we didn't listen and started to help her anyways. We got talking with her and chatted with her for about 20 minutes. We ended up showing her He Is the Gift, and let her meet the sister missionaries. They then talked with her for a while, and now they are teaching her! It was a tender miracle to see.
I love our Zone. Every day we grow closer and they are all like my brothers and sisters now! You get to meet and make so many amazing friends on the mission. Tonight we are going over to one of our favorite family’s house for Christmas Eve, and tomorrow is Christmas! I hope you all have a great week. I am going to the city today, and we are going to go to the Rockefeller Center and Times Square and a few other places. It should be pretty packed on Christmas Eve. We shall see. I'm very excited. It is always so fun going to the city because you see so many new things in such a little amount of time. South Manhattan is a very live place. I love it.
Have a fantastic week and a wonderful Christmas. Remember as you are opening your presents tomorrow, who really is the gift. :)